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What is Field Marketing?

What is field marketing?

Field marketing is any form of advertising, promotion of customer research that takes place out “in the field”, or face-to-face with customers. It often happens in-store, but it can be on the street or any public place or event that your customers go to.

Some typical field marketing operations include:

Sample stands
Surveys and questionnaires
Mystery shoppers

There’s no reason why retailers that sell exclusively online shouldn’t market in the field – they can still canvas people in the public or attend trade fairs, for example.
But it’s more relevant for brick and mortar stores to engage in this kind of marketing because they can be meeting customers in specific locations, times of day and seasons to gauge their opinions and intentions.

Why do field marketing?

As with all marketing, field marketing is carried out to publicise a retailer’s products, services and offers, or even to raise awareness of the brand itself. This latter type is useful if you’re a new brand, or if you’re a chain setting up shop in a new area.

What’s great about field marketing is that it’s a whole lot more personal than traditional advertising or online marketing. You’re actually coming into personal contact with customers, and (perhaps more important), they are coming into contact with you.

Clearly, in the days of Covid, field marketing has taken a hit as limited interpersonal contact has ruled out such activities. In fact, trying to talk to people who are socially distancing could backfire. But as we emerge from the pandemic, a society that has got used to buying online is going to need a lot of coaxing back into stores, and getting out and meeting them is the perfect way of doing it.

There seems to be a growing urge to “get back out there” and physical retail spaces might not be as empty as the more pessimistic observers are predicting.

What does field marketing look like?

Field marketing can be anything from a company representative in the street with a clipboard or tablet to a complete display set up in store. If you’ve ever had a sample of a new product in a supermarket, that’s one type of field marketing. Has it ever led to you heading straight to the aisle where the product is displayed and popped one in your basket?

That’s good field marketing. There’s always a hurdle to leap when you’re introducing someone to a new product – letting them see it, touch it and taste it can work wonders.
The most important aspects of field marketing are to maintain branding throughout the experience, to ensure customers come away with a positive impression, and to give your business a human face.

Don’t forget it’s a two-way thing – as well as providing customers with information and opportunities, you can use your field marketing operation as an intelligence-gathering tool. Even without forms and surveys, operatives on the ground can get an instinctive feel for how the brand is viewed, and report back to sales and marketing to steer future campaigns.